July 11, 2005 - Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) - Kutlug Ataman
July 11, 2005

Kutlug Ataman

Kutlug Ataman
Perfect Strangers

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Circular Quay West
Sydney, Australia


Image: Kutlug Ataman, Stefan’s Room, 2004 (still), five screen video installation with variable dimensions, approx 45 minutes, edition of 5, Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York © the artist.

This exhibition introduces the work of Kutlug Ataman to Australian audiences for the first time. Internationally acclaimed for his film works in museums, and an independent filmmaker in his own right, Ataman is a leading figure in contemporary art and Turkish cinema.

Atamans film works focus on individuals who inhabit the margins of conventional society. Narrative driven and interview-based, they explore the role of film as a medium through which reality and fiction collide. In this world people play out a range of characters and roles, merging real lives with heightened drama and intrigue, and reinventing themselves before the artists camera. In Atamans works the issue of time is central. Of extended duration (in one case, eight hours), the works are often experienced haphazardly as viewers move in and out of the gallery space. In this sense reality becomes further fragmented as each viewer puts together their own version of the story.
Kutlug Ataman: Perfect Strangers is the artists most comprehensive survey exhibition to date. It encompasses works from 1997, when he first began to show film installations within a museum context, to the present day. It presents two key works The Four Seasons of Veronica Read and Stefans Room as partner pieces for the first time. In these works we are introduced to Veronica Read and the collection of 900 amaryllis bulbs and plants that crowd her small London flat; and to Stefan Naumann, a passionate collector and world authority on tropical moths. Also on display are parallel stories about four Istanbul women and their wigs; a Jamaican man speaking of his experiences as a foreigner in Berlin; an octogenarian Turkish opera diva reflecting on her life, loves and losses; a beautiful transsexual living in exile in Switzerland; and a Turkish woman speaking in two adjacent screens on the divided state of Cyprus. We are also introduced to six Arab Alevite citizens of Turkey in the multi-screen work Twelve, in which they recount stories of their past and present lives.

This exhibition also presents Atamans powerful forty-screen installation Küba, in a special off-site presentation, a short walk from the MCA in Sydneys historic Rocks precinct. This major work features interviews with forty residents of the Istanbul shanty-town known as Küba. Not located on any official map, this locale is home to impoverished Turks and Kurds, religious fundamentalists, political dissidents and other disparate individuals who are bound in solidarity by their outsider status.
Küba is commissioned by Artangel and co-produced with Carnegie International 2004/2005, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (T-B A21), Vienna and Theater der Welt, Stuttgart, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
Küba is located on Level 2 of The Argyle Centre, Playfair Lane, The Rocks (2 minutes walk from the MCA) and is open daily from 10am-5pm until Sunday 24 July 2005. Kutlug Ataman: Perfect Strangers continues at the MCA until Sunday 4 September 2005.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, sits on Sydney Harbour across from the Opera House. Located at Circular Quay West, The Rocks the MCA is Australia’s only museum dedicated to exhibiting, interpreting and collecting contemporary art from across Australia and around the world. With a continually changing program of exhibitions there’s always something new, exciting and inspiring to see at the MCA. For more information go to www.mca.com.au

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
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